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Apocalypse Now Redux / B1 / Japan

04.09.14

Poster Poster

This is the Japanese B1 poster for the 2001 re-release of arguably the best war film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. This release, known as ‘Redux’ was a new version prepared by the director and his editor and long-time collaborator Walter Murch that saw almost 50 minutes inserted back into the film with several sequences extended and the flow of the film altered as a result. Set during America’s war in Vietnam, the film follows Martin Sheen‘s US Army Army and special forces veteran Benjamin Willard as he journeys up the dangerous Nung River and deeper into the jungle in the search of the rogue Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando in an unforgettable role). Willard is told that an insane Kurtz has gathered together an army of indigenous fighters inside neutral Cambodia and that he must ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’. After landing at the mouth of the river in a spectacular sequence in which Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) first attacks an enemy village from helicopters whilst blasting Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers, then orders some of his men to surf despite the fact that mortar shells continue to land all around them, Willard  joins the crew of a Navy PBR boat that transports him on his fateful journey up river.

Apocalypse Now is famous for its fraught production in which the shoot went over time and over budget, sets were destroyed by storms, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and other woes that caused Coppola to famously say, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The director’s wife Eleanor helped to put together the acclaimed documentary of the troubled production called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which is an essential watch for fans of the film. Despite the production woes, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, with its cultural impact undeniable.

The Redux version, which involved re-recording several of the original actors’ dialogue 30 years since the original filming, plus the addition of newly recorded music, was met with generally positive reviews. Many critics felt that the revisions made the film an even richer, stranger experience, whilst some felt that the new cut was self-indulgent and that the new sequences, particularly one set in a French plantation, slowed the film down too much. Check out this wikipedia article for details of the changes. I personally prefer the original cut but the new additions are undoubtedly interesting to watch.

The Japanese title on this poster is made from a photographic image of burning wood and the explosion and helicopters are taken from the now iconic ‘Charlie don’t surf’ sequence.

 

Apocalypse Now / one sheet / USA

12.08.13

Poster Poster

A classic painting by the late, great Bob Peak on this one sheet for the release of arguably the best war film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Set during America’s war in Vietnam, the film follows Martin Sheen‘s US Army Army and special forces veteran Benjamin Willard as he journeys up the dangerous Nung River and deeper into the jungle in the search of the rogue Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando in an unforgettable role). Willard is told that an insane Kurtz has gathered together an army of indigenous fighters inside neutral Cambodia and that he must ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’. After landing at the mouth of the river in a spectacular sequence in which Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) first attacks an enemy village from helicopters whilst blasting Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers, then orders some of his men to surf despite the fact that mortar shells continue to land all around them, Willard  joins the crew of a Navy PBR boat that transports him on his fateful journey up river.

Apocalypse Now is famous for its fraught production in which the shoot went over time and over budget, sets were destroyed by storms, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and other woes that caused Coppola to famously say, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The director’s wife Eleanor helped to put together the acclaimed documentary of the troubled production called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which is an essential watch for fans of the film. Despite the production woes, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, with its cultural impact undeniable.

Master movie poster artist Bob Peak was asked to create a series of paintings to sell the film and he worked in conjunction with art directors Murray Smith and Don Smolen from the boutique poster agency Smolen, Smith and Connolly, based in New York City. Two of Peak’s paintings were used in North America, with an image of the Nung River on the teaser poster and then this superb portrait of Brando as Kurtz with a menacing looking Sheen behind him was the final poster. Both of those images were used around the world to sell the film. German cinemas also saw this stunning image of Kurtz that was painted by Peak and used exclusively in that country.

Bob Peak was born in 1927 in Denver, Colorado and grew up in Wichita, Kansas before heading off to serve in the military during the Korean War. Upon his return Peak enrolled in the Los Angeles-based Art Center College of Design where he began to hone his craft as an artist, moving to New York after graduation where he began his career as a commercial illustrator, first working on a campaign for Old Hickory Whiskey. For the next few years the artist worked on a string of successful advertising campaigns, magazine editorials and more, but it was when United Artists hired Peak to work on their campaign for the release of West Side Story in 1961 that he began what would prove to be a fruitful and almost unrivalled career in film poster creation.

Peak’s immediately recognisable style was soon much in demand and his painting appeared on posters for films such as My Fair Lady (1964) and Camelot (1967), but it was his work in the area of sci-fi and fantasy for which Peak is perhaps best known, with the iconic design for the first Superman film (1978), the classic image he created for Rollerball (1975) and the colourful poster for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), amongst several classics of the genre he was responsible for. His paintings for Apocalypse Now, however, arguably saw the artist working at the top of his game and in the recently published must-own book The Art of Bob Peak (put together by one of his sons), he is quoted as saying, “Of all my movie work, it is my work on Apocalypse Now that I am most proud of.”

To see the other posters in the Film on Paper collection that were painted by Bob Peak click here.

Apocalypse Now / Thailand

23.09.15

Poster Poster

This is the very scarce original 2-sheet poster for the Thai release of arguably the best war film ever made, Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now.  Set during America’s war in Vietnam, the film follows Martin Sheen’s US Army Army and special forces veteran Benjamin Willard as he journeys up the dangerous Nung River and deeper into the jungle in the search of the rogue Special Forces Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando in an unforgettable role). Willard is told that an insane Kurtz has gathered together an army of indigenous fighters inside neutral Cambodia and that he must ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’. After landing at the mouth of the river in a spectacular sequence in which Colonel Kilgore (Robert Duvall) first attacks an enemy village from helicopters whilst blasting Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries from loudspeakers, then orders some of his men to surf despite the fact that mortar shells continue to land all around them, Willard  joins the crew of a Navy PBR boat that transports him on his fateful journey up river.

Apocalypse Now is famous for its fraught production in which the shoot went over time and over budget, sets were destroyed by storms, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and other woes that caused Coppola to famously say, “We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane”, and “My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam”. The director’s wife Eleanor helped to put together the acclaimed documentary of the troubled production called Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, which is an essential watch for fans of the film. Despite the production woes, the film was a huge critical and commercial success, with its cultural impact undeniable.

The film had several interesting posters printed for its release, including the great Bob Peak artwork used around the world, but this Thai 2-sheet is up there, in my mind, as one of the best posters ever painted, full stop. The amount of detail, use of colour and expertly arranged montage all add up to a visual feast of a design and I find some new detail every time I look at it. I’ve added 70 photos for you to really get a sense of the poster.

This poster was painted by the artist Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) who was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s but I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947. If anyone has any more information please get in touch.

The two sides of the poster were printed separately and then joined together once they were displayed at cinemas. I tried my best to join them together with Photoshop but it’s not that easy to get them to match. Photos 2 and 3 show the two halves separately. It’s interesting to note that Tongdee actually painted the original art on two canvases as can be seen on this photograph showing him and the British collector Neil Pettigrew that was published in issue 168 of Dark Side magazine. This means that getting a totally seamless join between the two halves is impossible.

Note that there was a reprint made of this poster several years ago where someone in Thailand scanned the poster when the two halves were joined together and then printed it as a single sheet poster at the standard Thai film poster size of around 21″ x 31″. These have sometimes been sold as ‘commercial posters’ but are nothing more than unauthorised fakes and should be avoided at all costs. Permission was not sought from the distributor or the artist to make these copies and their sale should not be supported.

Apocalypse Now / B2 / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Superman / B2 / style B / Japan

17.05.11

Poster Poster

Superman / Thailand

01.08.16

Poster Poster

Unique artwork by the Thai artist Tongdee Panumas features on this Thai poster for the release of Superman in 1978 (although the release date in Thailand was likely later). Whilst there had been several other superhero films released over the preceding decades, including three Superman ones, this is often considered to presage the hugely popular franchises of today, including Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and DC’s new crop of films. The Superman character had been invented in 1933 by two high school students, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who would go on to sell their creation to the original incarnation of DC Comics (then called Action Comics) in 1938.

The first Superman film appeared exactly 30 years before this one and was actually a 15 chapter serial that dealt with the character’s origin story, from his birth on the dying planet of Krypton to his eventual assumption of the guise of mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent in the city of Metropolis. The 1978 film tackled the same origin story and was in development for around four years after Alexander and Ilya Salkind, a father and son producing team, negotiated the rights from DC in 1974. The Godfather scribe Mario Puzo was hired to write the script and the hunt for a suitable director took almost three years before Richard Donner was eventually selected. The producers decided to film Superman and its sequel back-to-back, but tensions during the production saw the latter’s production put on hold to focus on the first film. Puzo’s script was apparently completely retooled by Donner and an uncredited Tom Mankiewicz.

The casting of Superman was as protracted as the hunt for a director and several A-list actors were offered the part before the production team decided to instead go with the relatively unknown Christopher Reeve. The choice would be richly rewarded, both in financial terms but also in the amounts of critical praise Reeve would garner over the months following the films release. Any doubts about the film being a schlocky retread of previous superhero films were put to bed by the casting of the likes of Marlon Brando (taking a then record salary with profits percentage totalling $19m) as Superman’s father Jor-El, Gene Hackman as the villainous Lex Luthor and Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. 

The film begins with the destruction of Krypton and Kal-El’s (Superman) parents sending their infant son off into space to land on Earth in the fictional town of Smallville in Kansas. The boy is found and raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent as their own son (whom they name Clark) and the couple vow to keep his burgeoning powers a secret. When he reaches 18, following the death of Jonathan, Clark hears a psychic call and travels to the Arctic with a crystal he finds in the craft that took him to earth. There the crystal builds the Fortress of Solitude where a hologram of Jor-El teaches his son about his origins and the extent of his powers. After 12 years of training Clark heads to Metropolis and takes a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet newspaper where he meets Lois Lane, a fellow reporter. Soon after he begins using his powers in public for the first time with heroic rescues and acts of crime prevention proving to Metropolis that there is a superhero in their midst.

The nefarious plans of Lex Luthor threaten the lives of everyone on the West Coast of America and Superman must act to stop him, however the master criminal learns of Superman’s weakness when it comes to the radioactive element Kryptonite which, as the name suggests, comes from his home planet. At the time the film was the most expensive made, with a budget of $55 million, but it ended up as a huge box-office success and earned over $300m during its cinema run. The then groundbreaking special effects were particularly praised and the film was able to capitalise on cinema audiences’ appetite for science-fiction and fantasy following the release of films such as Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind a year earlier. Critics lavished the film with praise and the sequel was quickly put into turnaround by the producers, although things didn’t exactly work out smoothly for most involved.

Tongdee Panumas (he signs his posters with just his first name) was an incredibly prolific Thai film poster artist during the 70s, 80s and 90s. I’ve been unable to find out much about him, other than that he was born in 1947, so if anyone has any more details please get in touch.

Note that the scenes from the film depicted towards the bottom of the poster also appear in much more detail on a series of Thai lobby posters that I plan to add to the site in the near future. Elements of this poster are of course based on the classic US poster by Bob Peak that features the Superman logo against blue sky and clouds.

Happy Birthday To Me / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster
Title
Happy Birthday To Me
AKA
--
Year of Film
1981
Director
J. Lee Thompson
Starring
Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane, Sharon Acker, Frances Hyland, Tracey E. Bregman, Jack Blum, Matt Craven, Lenore Zann
Origin of Film
Canada
Genre(s) of Film
Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Lawrence Dane, Sharon Acker, Frances Hyland, Tracey E. Bregman, Jack Blum, Matt Craven, Lenore Zann,
Type of Poster
Quad
Style of Poster
--
Origin of Poster
UK
Year of Poster
1981
Designer
Unknown
Artist
--
Size (inches)
29 7/8" x 39 7/8"
SS or DS
SS
Tagline
John Will Never Eat Shish Kebab Again. Six of the most bizarre murders you will ever see. | Steven will never ride a motorcycle again. Greg will never lift weights again. Who's killing the school's snobbish top ten? At the rate they're going there will be no one left for Virginia's birthday party... alive. | Pray You're Not Invited To The Party.

Superman / quad / UK

18.05.11

Poster Poster